BRIAN ICKLER Nashville: Round 1 for Ickler, Round 2 for KBM MOORESVILLE, N.C. (Aug. 4, 2010) -- For the first time in the history of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, the trucks will make a second stop at Nashville Superspeedway in Lebanon,...
Nashville: Round 1 for Ickler, Round 2 for KBM
MOORESVILLE, N.C. (Aug. 4, 2010) -- For the first time in the history of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, the trucks will make a second stop at Nashville Superspeedway in Lebanon, Tenn. Since 2001, the series had competed at the 1.33-mile concrete oval in April and not returned until the following spring.
So, for Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM), Saturday's Nashville 200 will be round two at Nashville, but for KBM driver Brian Ickler, it will be round one. In the April race, KBM driver-owner Kyle Busch, who had never competed in a truck at Nashville, started on the pole and led 131 of 150 laps en route the first-ever victory for the team in just its fourth-ever race.
Ickler, who is splitting time in the No. 18 Toyota Tundra for KBM with Busch (Kasey Kahne and Johnny Benson have also driven one race each), is hoping his first Truck Series start at Nashville will be as successful as his team owner's was in April. He has just one Nationwide Series start at Nashville, which came in June of this year when he finished 29th.
The 25-year-old San Diego native has been impressive thus far in his four Truck Series races for KBM in 2010, having scored three top-10 finishes and completing all 782 laps available to him.
Another strong run by Ickler could move the No. 18 Toyota to first in the Camping World Truck Series owner championship. After Kasey Kahne's second-place run last week at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway, the No. 18 Toyota moved to just two points behind the championship-leading No. 30 truck of Germain Racing.
Brian Ickler, Driver, No. 18 Toyota Tundra for Kyle Busch Motorsports:
Overall thoughts heading to Nashville?
"I'm really looking forward to going to Nashville. I really like the concrete racetrack. We'll have a really good truck going there and Kyle won there earlier in the year. I feel like Rick Ren (director of competition) and Eric Phillips really have it figured out. I look forward to having a good run there."
Can you talk about what kind of guidance Kyle offers you before a race weekend?
"Kyle has helped me in just about every aspect of my racing career. Before every race, I call him up and he talks to me about racing lines, things to do to the truck to make it go faster, and tuning tools inside the truck. He'll talk about what to expect during a run and what to do between pit stops. He'll talk about what the truck is going to do in traffic, what the tire is like, what to expect in traffic and what to expect when you're up front. It's everything. Restart points, difficulties getting on pit road -- there are just so many things he can tell you since he has so much experience and success."
Temperatures are expected to reach almost 100 degrees on race day. How do you prepare for that?
"You just have to stay super-hydrated -- drink lots of water leading up to the race and eat well. I've been working out in the gym and I've been running in the miserable heat in Mooresville (N.C.), which will hopefully help. The biggest thing is just staying hydrated."
Eric Phillips, Crew Chief, No. 18 Toyota Tundra for Kyle Busch Motorsports:
How important was Kyle Busch Motorsports' first victory in April at Nashville?
"It was huge. I don't think anyone at that point in time expected us to win that early in the season while we were trying to build a new program. To go and run the way we did, it was exciting and proved what we were going to be able to do for the rest of the season."
How will Nashville track conditions change from what they were during the April race?
"That's a good question. We've gone over our notes and made an adjustment to the setup we ran there in the spring. That's the first time we've ever raced there in the spring. We've always raced there in August. Rick (Ren, director of competition) and I sat down and looked at our notes and made some adjustments to what we did there in the spring and what we've done there in the past. We're trying to make sure we keep up with the racetrack."
How do you prepare Brian Ickler for his first truck race at Nashville?
"You don't have to tell him much. He talks to Kyle a little bit about what he needs to do. It's just getting him comfortable. He knows how to go fast. Speed hasn't been an issue with Brian at all, whether it's a new racetrack for him or not. It takes him a few laps, sometimes, at a new place to get going, but within five or 10 minutes of practice, he's right where he needs to be. I think it's just making sure we do our job to give him a good truck. If we make the right calls and adjustments, I think we'll be fine."
What is your reaction to last week's race a Pocono and Kasey Kahne's second-place result?
"I was really pleasantly surprised with Pocono and the race that we put on. There are probably a few of us veteran truck guys who didn't think it was going to be quite the show, just because of the way some of the Sprint Cup races tend to go up there. Sometimes a guy is good and stays out front. The truck race was nothing like that. I think the biggest lead anyone had was nine-tenths of a second, and that was only for a few laps. We stayed within a half-second of the leader and if we were leading, it seemed like someone was within a half-second of us. So, I'm excited about it. Hopefully, we get to go back next year. I'd like to see them make the race a little bit longer. As far as Kasey, that went very well. He was really easy to work with and he gave good information. For him not being in a truck for several years, it wasn't that much different than Kyle (Busch) or Brian (Ickler) being in there. We had a lot of fun and got pretty close and wish we could have won but, overall, the weekend was really good."
Rick Ren, Director of Competition, Kyle Busch Motorsports:
What is the key to being successful at Nashville?
"Everyone has to slow down going into turns one and two because there are some bumps down low. If you don't get off of turns one and two well, it kind of chokes you down. When you come off of turn two, you kind of go up the banking, so if you get your RPMs down, it will really kill your backstretch and, if you get your backstretch speed messed up and don't get into turn three right, it just kills your whole lap. If you get into turn three right, you can pick up the gas early and you're on the gas through turn four, all the way through the dogleg and deep into turn one. That's where you really gain your speed, but it all comes from how much speed you carried through turns one and two. It is a tricky racetrack and I've raced there and gone there with teams and been really good, and I've gone there and been not so good."